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EU elections to be affected by Obama, internet

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The ODS election website is inviting: We are on Facebook. The visitor finds out that the pages have much catching up to do, but many users apparently don’t mind this. One thousand joined between Friday afternoon and Sunday.

“We are still working on it. We are improving things according to our experience and observations,” said Jan Zahradil, number one on ODS list for the upcoming EP elections, which will take place at the beginning of June.

The ODS, just like other political parties, were affected by Barack Obama and his presidential campaign. Obama won in part thanks to taking maximum advantage of the internet. That is why Czech election managers use words like YouTube, MySpace, Skype, Facebook, ICQ…

Christian Democrats on the fence

Christian Democrats have two channels on the giant video site YouTube. One is for the whole party and the other is for European MPs. “MEPs often tell us off for not updating the profile regularly enough,” said Jaroslav Poláček, responsible for the Christian Democrats’ EU campaign. It does not come as a surprise, since the party leader Jiří Čunek only uploaded three of his speeches while even his long deceased predecessor Josef Lux has more videos on the site.

The party wants to connect its members, as well as sympathisers for the June elections through YouTube, Skype and Facebook. They plan to launch an event called Fences (Ploty) in March, which will require internet participation. “We will approach everyone who has a fence leading onto the street and ask them whether they would put up our election poster,” Poláček said, adding that the party will save hundreds of millions on billboard rents. Besides, the participation of “ordinary people” is also Obama’s invention – his campaign was based on the help of volunteers.

“We will be glad when people help us, if they, for example, pass a poster onto their neighbours,” said Jan Zahradil from the ODS. That is why the biggest governmental party offers a simple online application form where those willing to help may register. How they want to help is up to them.

Internet wars

Due to the limited, at a maximum CZK 3 million, budget, the Green Party is also turning its attention toward the internet. “According to our analysis, our voters are social network users,” said party manager Tomáš Průša. “We will definitely focus on YouTube, Facebook and internet advertising,” Průša said.

Unlike their competitors, however, the Greens, however, do not have a specific plan yet, nor do they do not have their voting ticket put together.

The ODS and the ČSSD have been competing online for a while now. The ODS launched a negative campaign last Friday publishing web pages mocking the statements and ideas of ČSSD politicians.

A couple of weeks ago, Jiří Paroubek’s party launched a server dedicated to the economic crises, attacking the behaviour of the coalition government.

The ČSSD decided to build its campaign on the economic crisis.

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